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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Choose the Right Shoes for Your Fitness Activity

Jun 06, 2016 04:00PM ● By Amira Mantoura

As soon as we see the first 70°F day, we put on new shorts and summer shoes, ready to get more active outdoors. Regardless of the chosen activity, picking the right shoe is essential to staying comfortably on our feet.

The Achilles tendon and plantar fascia form a continuous structure. It is best to avoid placing tension on that structure; wearing shoes with a slight heel lift will help to relieve that tension. Flat sandals and flip flops are quite popular with many young women in high school and boat shoes with their male counterparts. So it’s not surprising when they begin to have heel pain during sports because one of the biggest culprits for heel pain is wearing flat shoes—including flip flops, ballet slippers, boat shoes, flat winter boots and even bare feet.

Tips for Picking Shoes

First check the counter on the shoe. That is the area that surrounds the heel on the back of the shoe.

It needs to be as solid as a rock. Then flex the sole of the shoe where the foot meets the toes. That area needs to be very soft so as to allow for propulsion without having to wrestle with the shoe. You need enough height and width in the toebox to allow for all forefoot deformities, including bunions, hammer toes and ingrown nails. Finally the shoe should have a heel lift to relax the plantar fascia and Achilles structure. The exception is for lateral motion sports—like tennis and basketball—where it is necessary to avoid heels in order to prevent the likelihood of ankle injuries.

Running, shopping and school walking are best done in a good supportive pair of runners or walkers.

Wear dress shoes in moderation but they should also pass the test for picking shoes; they need to have a rigid counter, flexible sole, some heel lift, and enough room in the toebox.

Amira Mantoura, DPM, practices podiatry at 95 Morgan St, Stamford. Connect with her at 203-975-1175 or [email protected].

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